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Itroducing Francine Tamakloe, this week’s Campus Celebrity! Tamakloe, who has always loved poetry, recently started a poetry group at the University of South Carolina. Tamakloe is a sophomore marketing and management major, from Greenville, S.C., and is heavily involved on campus. She works as a resident mentor in Capstone and serves as the vice president for the Association of African American Students. Along with all of this, she also enjoys playing piano and painting.

“I’ve always liked to write songs and poems,” said Tamakloe. “Even in like the third grade, I would get mad for whatever reason and then go and write about it.” In middle school, Tamakloe won a poetry competition, and had one of her poems published in a book.  She participated in speech and debate and began acting out poems in high school.

When she first entered college, Tamakloe knew that she wanted to do something with speech and debate or poetry. To pursue this goal, she performed one of her own pieces for the first time in the Fashion Defined 2012 fashion show.

Since the university didn’t have a poetry group, she started seeking different talent and seeing who was interested in poetry.  “I attended a lot of the spoken word and open mic nights that Carolina Productions hosts,” said Tamakloe.  After speaking with a few interested students, First Word Epiphany was formed.

“It’s been a long time coming (for First Word Epiphany),” said Tamakloe.  Comprised of 15 students, First Word Epiphany provides a platform for its members; most of who had never performed their work before. It’s an outlet and a place for new beginnings for many of them. Tamakloe loves the growth and hunger she’s seen come from the group and its writing.

Tamakloe and First Word Epiphany held their first showcase, Epiphanies, on March 17 in Russell House theatre, and approximately 100 people attended. Tamakloe said all of the performers did well; and since the event, 10 more people have expressed interest in First Word Epiphany. Tamakloe is currently in the process of making the group an official USC student organization.

“We should be official by the end of this semester,” said Tamakloe. Next school year, First Word Epiphany plans to attend student organization fairs to create publicity for the group and recruit members. “I would also like for us to get out and do community service in the Columbia area,” said Tamakloe. The group wishes to hold poetry workshops in the future working with at risk kids and children with disabilities.

Keep up with the upcoming group by following @FwEpiphany on Twitter

Check out the group’s intro video/ promo for the event they had https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=oEDqEoakCqI


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Angela Cooper

South Carolina

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